Lake Land College develops technology mentoring program through Connecting Generations grant
As part of a partnership between Community and Professional Programs at Lake Land College, the Helen Matthes Library, the University of Illinois Extension Offices and the East Central Illinois Development Corporation (ECIDC), eight area libraries have implemented a new mentorship program called Connecting Generations, a grant funded project that seeks to match seniors wanting individualized Internet and computer instruction with middle school, high school and college students interested in sharing their expertise.
According to Johnna Morecraft, director of Community and Professional Programs at Lake Land, several area libraries saw a need in their communities for a program that increased broadband Internet adoption and usage, especially by the aging population.
“This is a great opportunity for adult learners, who want to know more about computers, to work with today’s technology gurus – teenagers,” explained Morecraft. “These young people are a driving force in encouraging broadband adoption and usage within their families, so there are no better instructors than those who are on the forefront of computer usage.”
Morecraft said that the program has been a huge success at area libraries and she contributes that to the time the teens have volunteered to teach others their computer skills in addition to the dedication from the staff at the libraries.
“This program is equally as beneficial as many of the other programs the library offers the community,” said Nancy Claypool, director of the Marshall Public Library. “We very much appreciate that we can offer it to the many people who call the library for technology assistance. It has been an answer to an ongoing challenge in our library and community.”
Essentially, the program offers mentoring sessions that cover a variety of topics and skills, depending on the senior’s preference, and are designed to break down barriers like fear of technology so that seniors are more comfortable using broadband or high-speed Internet. Some of the topics that have been covered so far include: downloading files, organizing documents, using email, checking online banking, Facebook and social media and online music streaming.
The following libraries offer the Connecting Generations program: Helen Matthes Library in Effingham; Charleston Carnegie Public Library; Marshall Public Library; Martinsville Public Library District; Palestine Public Library District; Paris Carnegie Public Library; Chrisman Public Library; and Tuscola Public Library.
The project, funded by broadbandillinois.org, is an expansion of a pilot program that took place at the Helen Matthes Library in Effingham.
For more information about Connecting Generations, contact Morecraft at (217) 234-5470.